Friendly service and great food at this newly opened café
In 1985, Mordecai Richler stated in a New York Times article that in Edmonton, “There isn’t a first-class restaurant anywhere in town.” Whether his view of Edmonton was warranted or not is up for debate. Regardless, Edmonton is no longer a culinary wasteland. There has been an influx of culinary diversity throughout the city in the last few years, especially along Alberta Avenue.
In early November, Flava Café opened its doors to serve Jamaican cuisine. With a small, simple shop, Flava Café offers counter service, delivery, or curbside pickup. It was open for less than a week when I went in to see what they had to offer. Walking in, I was greeted by two very friendly men behind the counter.
I ordered the jerk chicken meal ($14), the jerk pork meal ($14), and two cans of pop ($2.50 each).
When I asked what sides were available, one of the men said, “rice and beans.”
“OK,” I said, as he filled the take out containers.
“Want coleslaw?” he asked.
“Sure,” I said, even though I am not the biggest fan. I am not morally opposed to coleslaw, I just feel the energy expended on it is not always worth the effort, and quite often try to slide it onto my wife’s plate without anyone noticing.
The jerk chicken was flavourful, with a crispy skin. Not the spiciest jerk chicken I’ve tasted, but it had a tasty seasoned flavour. Some Jamaican jerk seasoning was included on the side for dipping. The dip was both flavourful and spicy and is what the owners use to baste their chicken and pork.
Jerk seasoning’s primary ingredient is the Scotch bonnet pepper, which is what gives it the heat. Mixed with various spices, herbs, garlic, and onion, it makes for a flavourful hot seasoning. It’s a seasoning that was born out of necessity in Jamaica. Back in the 1700s, Britain brought slaves to Jamaica, and a group of those slaves escaped. They used a blend of spices and herbs to marinate meat. That blend is Jamaican jerk and it is now beloved around the world.
The jerk pork had the same seasoning as the chicken, and the pork held onto the flavour of the seasoning well. The pork also had a crispy edge to it, which, alongside the flavour, would make a great sandwich.
While my wife loved the jerk chicken, I preferred the jerk pork. But, we agreed that both dishes were enjoyable.
The rice and beans were nicely cooked. They were slightly on the flavourless side, but acted as a nice canvas for the flavours of the jerk seasoning I poured over the chicken, pork, and rice.
The coleslaw was simply coleslaw, but it went well with this dish and I ate it all.
I was pleased with this meal and with Flava Café. The food was cooked well, and the jerk sauce was a perfect balance of flavour and spice.
They sell jars of their jerk sauce, which I will be purchasing to add to meals at home. They also sell jerk chicken and jerk pork sandwiches and Jamaican beef patties.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 forks.
8307 118 Ave
587.936.1919 or fulaflava.ca
Mon-Fri: 10 am to 6 pm
Sat: 11 am to 6 pm
Featured Image: From left to right: the jerk pork and the jerk chicken. | Stephen Strand